The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup this Tuesday 25 May. New fintech startup Hydr helps SMEs manage their cash flow while Apifiny hires ex-Goldman Sachs veteran as CTO.
Apifiny, a global digital asset trading and mining network, has hired Jason Jiang as chief technology officer. He will help develop Apifiny’s digital asset trading platform ahead of the company’s anticipated, planned public offering. Prior to joining Apifiny, Jiang served as vice president at Goldman Sachs.
Open finance partnership platform mmob has appointed Irfan Khan as CEO. Previously, Khan founded Yielders, the FCA-authorised real estate crowdfunding platform. mmob’s infrastructure delivers rapid routes to market to innovative third-party providers and gives consumers greater access to their data.
Meanwhile, Pearlyn Phau Yee Meng is joining Singapore’s Aviva Singlife as executive director and group CEO from August. The appointment follows the completed merger between Singlife and Aviva Singapore. Nishit Majmudar, currently CEO of Aviva Singapore, will become a senior advisor to the board, while Walter de Oude, who has acted as Group CEO prior to Pearlyn’s appointment, will become deputy chairman, Aviva Singlife.
Arthur Morrish is named the first CEO of ASPIRE, the technology programme management pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC). Prior to joining ASPIRE, Dr Morrish was the vice president for advanced concepts and technology with the Raytheon Intelligence and Space Systems (RIS).
Funding and investments
Global banking tech startup Zeta has secured $250million in Series C funding from the SoftBank Vision Fund 2, valuing the company at $1.45billion. The funding will accelerate Zeta’s growth in the US and Europe while it scales its operations, team and platform.
Egyptian agri-fintech platform Mozare3 has closed a seven-figure pre-seed funding round led by Algebra Ventures and Disruptech Ventures. Plus, additional participation from EFG-EV and a group of angel investors. Mozare3 provides financial support to 20 million underserved, unbankable smallholder farmers and their families in Egypt.
Mergers and acquisitions
Zip expands into Europe and the Middle East, with the acquisitions of European BNPL provider Twisto and UAE-based Spotii. Zip expects to complete the Spotii acquisition in Q3 and the Twisto acquisition in Q4. The acquisitions have a combined enterprise value of $180million with transaction consideration of $160million.
While CleverCards, the global payments platform, has agreed to snap up ExpendiaSmart, a provider of spend management solutions. The CleverCards platform will empower ExpendiaSmart customers to accelerate their digital transformation. Separately, CleverCards also revealed it is closing out on a capital raise of €10million in the next four weeks.
The Central Bank of Kenya has acquired 100 per cent shareholding of Uwezo Microfinance Bank by Salaam African Bank of Djibouti. Uwezo MFB was licensed by CBK as a community microfinance bank carrying out business in Nairobi. CBK says the transaction will strengthen the business model of Uwezo MFB and enhance the resilience of Kenya’s microfinance banking sector.
Multi-asset liquidity provider Broctagon Fintech Group has secured a new Labuan money broking licence. It means it can offer regulated bank-grade FX liquidity to its clientele. Additionally, Broctagon has hired Cecilia Chan, Singapore Exchange’s former VP, as its executive director and head of FX.
OpenOcean, the DeFi & CeFi full aggregator, now supports users speaking Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and Russian. They will see website localisation and native support staff for their respective languages on Discord channel. Since its launch last year, OpenOcean has attracted more than184,000 active users and over $1.7billion in cumulative volume.
The Central Bank of Kuwait has urged caution against dealing in crypto-assets, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin. The CBK stated that crypto assets are not real currencies and warned that only a lawful state can issue real currency as a symbol of sovereignty.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) has awarded certificates to 25 UAE national professionals for risk based supervision. The CBUAE launched its in-house risk-based supervision professionals programme in January 2020 as part of its aim to become one of the top central banks globally.
This week, Flybits and Mastercard are hosting an in-person and live-streamed event to introduce how their collaborative ecosystem works. Register for the roundtable, taking place at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Innovation Hub on 26 May – part of DIFC’s Innovation Month.
Domineum, a London-based software development firm, has teamed up with nChain, a provider of data integrity solutions. nChain will advise Domineum on transitioning its portfolio of products to the BSV blockchain. Domineum also expects to expand its current suite of offerings as a result of the partnership.
A partnership for Square and Plaid aims to give US merchants a better ACH (automated clearing house) payment experience. Square will use Plaid’s technology to allow its merchants to accept ACH payments without worrying about bank authentication. Merchants can now accept ACH payments through Square Invoices and developers can enable ACH payments through Square Web Payments SDK.
While Cardstream, a provider of white label payment services, has partnered with Kount for digital fraud prevention. Kount’s AI-driven fraud protection products protect more than 9000 global companies including Cardstream and its open payment network. While Cardstream has a global network of more than 400 acquirers.
Japan and Singapore have renewed an agreement to swap their local currencies in exchange for US dollars from each other in times of need. The bilateral swap arrangement (BSA) between the central banks of the two nations also enables Singapore to obtain Japanese yen to meet possible fund requirements. The size of the arrangement remains unchanged.
Bahrain-based payment service provider NEC Payments is now a global partner of Mastercard Fintech Express. The programme provides a suite of tools and resources for startups to grow and scale their business through partnerships. NEC Payment is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain.
Flutterwave, an Africa payments technology company, has hooked up with Amole, Ethiopia’s mobile digital wallet platform. The partnership aims to make remittances easier for the more than eight million members of the Ethiopian diaspora that remit $5billion-plus annually to Ethiopia. Money transfers can be made via Amole Wallet, bank accounts and cash pickup locations at 2,500 locations across the country.
Meanwhile, untied, the UK’s personal tax app, has welcomed new partner can.did, the benefits programme created for UK female business owners. untied offers real-time tax calculation and lets users tag income and expenses, as well as submit their tax returns via mobile. Formerly known as She can. She did., can.did. is a networking scheme for female business owners that with a focus on health, financial and lifestyle benefits.
Temenos, the banking software company, says Saven Financial – a division of FirstOntario – has gone live with Temenos Infinity and Temenos Transact. Saven is available online and on mobile devices to Ontario residents.
“With our real-time, API-first technology, Saven will create a digital ecosystem that offers outstanding experiences and true value in the day-to-day lives of Ontario consumers.”
While smart payment provider Openpay has joined the UK e-commerce platform Aero Commerce. Merchants integrated with the Aero platform will benefit from Openpay’s buy now,pay later payment solutions. Openpay has grown its UK merchant roster throughout 2021, with other recent signings including Monsoon Accessorize and Brentford FC.
The DMCC Crypto Centre is now open to offer co-working spaces and a range of incubator and accelerator programmes for crypto entrepreneurs. Located in Dubai‘s Almas Tower, the Centre aims to be a thriving ecosystem offering a variety of services to innovators, entrepreneurs and pioneers. The official inauguration was attended by government and industry representatives, including His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade.
Finally, Manchester-based fintech startup Hydr has launched its proprietary invoice finance platform to help small businesses optimise their cash flow. Co-founders Nicola Weedall and Hector Macandrew are on a mission to tackle poor payment culture in the UK. Hydr has also partnered with global small business platform Xero for integration with its platform.